IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

DeSantis' AP course crusade, and the right's fight to remain stupid

A decision by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration to ban an African American studies course shows that Republicans see ignorance as a valuable asset.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has given its explanation for why the state's education department banned schools from teaching an Advanced Placement African American studies course, and the rationale is just as oppressive as imagined. 

Florida state Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat, shared a sheet the DeSantis administration released laying out its objections to the AP course, which was proposed as one of several electives for high school students in Florida. The release cites the following topics related to the administration's concerns: the antiracist Movement for Black Lives, Black authors Kimberlé Crenshaw and Angela Davis, Black queer studies, intersectionality and reparations. 

“We proudly require the teaching of African American history," Florida Education Secretary Manny Diaz Jr. tweeted on Friday. "We do not accept woke indoctrination masquerading as education."

The state has officially banned the AP African American history course under the so-called Stop WOKE Act DeSantis signed into law last April. The DeSantis administration has framed his crusade against inclusive learning plans as intending to protect white students — and even adult employees — from feeling "discomfort" or "guilt." 

In the governor's view, it seems the white mind is too fragile to discuss the existence and equality of marginalized groups. 

“We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think," DeSantis said during a news conference Monday. "But we don’t believe they should have an agenda imposed on them when you try to use Black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes.”

Considering DeSantis is a potential 2024 presidential candidate, and he’s knee-deep in right-wing anti-intellectualism, it seems we’ve officially reached the point where “I’m with stupid” has essentially become a campaign slogan. The so-called wokeness DeSantis and conservatives like him are fighting against is, simply, consciousness. Consciousness of world history and the ways societies have been built to benefit some and disadvantage others. Consciousness that marginalized people have feelings, and perspectives worth telling. Consciousness that self-entitled elites like DeSantis are exponentially more destructive to American society than any oppressed groups they seek to demonize. 

It’s crystal clear why DeSantis and Co. are trying to ban lesson plans that address inequality. The conservative agenda cannot withstand the scrutiny of a humane and sensitive mind. So Republicans are deeply invested in upping the hysterics and gutting enlightened education in their effort to create ignorant right-wing fanatics.